Foldable Solar Panels

Foldable solar panels basically consist of flexible weather resistant substrates on which photovoltaic material is deposited. These solar panels are known for their durability. Even if the substrate is punctured, these solar panels do not stop power generation. In addition, such solar panels generate power even it they are in shade or the sun's light is inadequate for generating power from conventional solar cells made from glass panels.

Such panels are also lighter than conventional solar panels made from glass, apart from being safer. Cleaning the foldable solar panels is also easier. Theoretically, these solar panels are 15 percent more efficient in generating power than conventional solar panels. Like any other solar power generation unit, foldable solar panels also generate power without making much sound.

Smaller foldable solar panels generate about 10W power, whereas larger foldable solar panels generate almost 120W. Effectively, these panels are useful for charging smartphones and laptops, as well as lighting cabins, and running refrigerators, depending upon the size selected. Such cells are also scalable. In addition, such panels can be used along with existing power generating units, to form hybrid power generating units.

Foldable solar panels are useful in remote locations that do not have access to power. Therefore, such panels are suitable for work sites, military bases, refugee camps, exploration sites, etc.

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Such solar panels can also be used in homes to supplement the energy requirement. These panels can be installed easily. Therefore, installation charges and risks associated with conventional solar panels are almost nil in the case of foldable solar panels. The time taken to install such panels is also negligible when compared to time taken to install conventional solar panels that are made from glass.

Usually, such solar cells can be folded into much smaller compact sizes. When folded, such solar panels resemble small bags, envelopes, or brief cases.

Good video on the details of making a foldable solar panel.

Video Transcript

foldable solar panels were invented in the nineteen nineties four American soldiers in the field they use them to recharge electronic devices the panels have environmental and tactical advantages conserving both electricity and physical energy today foldable solar panels are not just for the military these lightweight panels can be folded up and tucked into a backpack allowing anyone to escape to the wilderness but stay plugged in production starts with the role of thin plastic film it's the same material used to make flat screen TVs a worker loads it into machines that distribute thin layers of aluminum and silicon onto it the aluminum acts as an electrical contact the silicon produces electricity when exposed to the sun's rays next lasers car vertical and horizontal lines into the film these lines to find the solar cells an automated squeegee applies blacking through a screen and into the lies the ankle act is an electrical insulator it also makes it possible to cut through the film without damaging it UV like cures the insulating an employee for is a generous amount of metallic silver ink onto a pattern a squeegee forces being through to the solar film this creates a conductive grid on the film a camera magnifies the grid for inspection the solar film travels through a chamber where he cures the silver ANC's blazer now connects the solar cells making the bottom aluminum layer of one cell to the top silicon layer of the next the laser ties them together similar to how a soldering tool would this establishes electrical connections and increases the voltage significantly a different camera magnifies the connections to check the alignment now a worker loads the solar film into a machine it deposits a transparent oxide onto the film that will increase connectivity these solar cells are now fully functional the next machine test each one it also applies to conduct of foil tape at certain points another machine roles that clear sheet of plastic onto the solar cells the plastic adheres to the cells waterproofing and encapsulating them a die presse cuts out solar panels along the black insulator lines depressed uses computerized cameras for accurate cuts a robot transfers each panel to the next station using suctioning heads of computerized camera scrutinized the panels for defects after more testing they deposit the panels on a piece of fabric a laser cut the fabric around the panel's heated rollers behind the plastic panels to the fabric [Music] now an employee burns through clear plastic film to reach the conductive oil he satyrs wire to the foil at these points to connect the positive and negative leads [Music] the wire is flexible and will Bend with the fabric when it's folded a seamstress now stitches strips of fabric over the wires enclosing them in a protective pocket [Music] another member of the team solder the connector to a circuit board that's been attached to protruding wires he squeezed a silicone into a plastic cover and places it on the assembly the silicon solidifies around the components to protect them from water damage finally he ribbons to cover to the fabric this foldable solar charger is ready to be bundled up and placed in the backpack it can power a laptop or smartphone keeping the user connected anywhere in the world [Music]

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